Not even going to lie, this book came on my radar after I saw Emma Roberts posted a picture of it on her Instagram (shout out to her and her excellent book recs). As fate would have it, it was sitting in the new books section of the library when I popped in so I went for it.
The story revolves around four girls who are all sent to a convent due to miscellaneous personal tragedies. You learn about each one throughout and that backstory is worth the wait for each. They are bound by the fact that they are all named Guinevere (we know them as Vere, Ginny, Gwen and Win). The story is told through Vere’s perspective but she also remains largely a mystery for the majority of the book. Her story is told last and it was like a sucker punch in the gut when I got there. The general storyline revolves around four comatose soldiers who arrive at the convent to heal or die and the girls begin to envision them as “their boys”. This is the catalyst for the progression of the story. It’s a slow story but effective nonetheless.
Now I am not Catholic so my knowledge is limited. There are chapters interspersed in the novel about various saints and their tragic road to sainthood and I thought they were so interesting. I know some people felt that those chapters lost them but I felt it added to the overall gothic tone.
“The Guineveres” has a definite “Virgin Suicide” like vibe and I even felt like the book had this interesting kitsch factor. I don’t know if it was the fact that the time frame is a bit blurry (I think most people felt it was set during WWII) or that it just felt very eerie due to the subject matter but I was all in on this one.
This is not a book if you’re looking for some big twist or major revelation. It is a coming of age tale and a look at what that means for all four of the girls and where they belong in this world.